I wish I had more information to go on here, but I don’t. My friend told me about a photographer that does this but I don’t have any facts one way or the other. Until I know more, I’d like to put this in more in the realm of hypotheicals because it makes for a more interesting debate.
A photographer takes pictures of other people’s pictures and passes them off as her own. She doesn’t make copies from their negatives, or recreates the picture by standing in the same spot, she has their photo, lays it down, and takes a picture of that picture. That’s her work. You can’t tell that it was another photo there because her entire picture is that photograph. She then sells those photos as her own. Technically they are hers. She did create them, but she used someone elses work to make it possible.
Now, a few questions arise:
- Do the original photographers have any rights regarding this? Does copyright apply? What if the copyright has ended?
- Would it be ok to NOT inform potential customers that the work inside the work is not your own?
- Would you buy these pieces knowing that, while the photos are hers, the photo inside the photo isn’t?
- If she made changes to her photograph, by playing with the development time, lightening/darkening it, etc. would that change your answer?
- How is this different from taking a photograph of anything else (building, piece of art, copyrighted logo, etc.)?